Simon_Jester wrote:No, the subject dies. A different, vaguely similar person is constructed to occupy the meat-puppet that was once their body.
I don't know how many times this has been explained to you. But forcibly, radically altering someone's mind so that they think and feel differently is not better than killing them. Arguably it's worse, because it gives you a pretext for pretending you haven't done anything wrong.
I don't buy that position that it kills the subject. You can argue this is a deep violation to alter someone's mind to such a degree and in such a way. That's a conversation worth having. But I reject the notion that it would be death. A change of mind=/=death.
The question that then arises, Zor, is: What are you?
What part of who you are is essential to your existence? What part of you, if it were fundamentally altered, would cause you to cease to be 'you?'
Is it your physical body? Your memory? Or is it your personality, the decision-making process that allows you to interact with the world and be internally aware of what is going on and why you do things?
I would argue that it is the last of those things. And by definition, any process that can go in and cut out all the parts of a person that cause them to interact with the world in an 'undesired' way, so that they not only will not
do things you disapprove of but don't even want to... At that point, you have irretrievably destroyed who and what a person is. "That person" has been hollowed out and destroyed in a way that makes them functionally dead.
Let's say that someone has an experience which radically effects their mindset and outlook on the world, to the point where brain scans show a distinct deviation from before and after.
Like what? Be specific. To what extent
has this person changed? Are we talking about a physical change in the brain as radical as the targeted "surgery to destroy all the parts of the brain that cause defiance and noncompliance and violence?"
Or let's say an individual gets a kidney transplant and (as often happens) ends up craving some food that previously he did not particularly like, but the donor was fond of. In all of these instances there are changes in thought processes and behavior.
A change in food preference is an inconsequential thing and you know it; it's disingenuous of you to even bring it up as being comparable. Much worse that it's the only specific
example you bring up.
Do you really think that things like "I believe in the right of people to defend themselves from XYZ with force" or "I believe in our independence from domineering robots" are such an inconsequential a part of who and what a person is? Do you honestly think they can be compared to whether they like sugary desserts.
Let's be more specific. Let's come up with examples like Phineas Gage, the man who had a railroad spike slammed through his head, and whose personality radically changed as a result. Did the real Gage survive that accident? It's easy to say his body survived, but did he
survive? What is a person, if they are NOT that decision-making process which evaluates experiences and translates them into action? How much of that process can you forcibly alter without effectively unmaking the person, in what is really just a passive-aggressive way to destroy your enemies while pretending you didn't destroy them?
Even so we don't see the individual as dead. The same would go for someone who takes medication and receives therapy to deal with psychological issues.
Except that all such medications and therapies are applied with the informed consent of the patient, or with the informed consent of some specific person who had damned well better
be able to demonstrate that they personally care for the patient's welfare. And as soon as the patient says "stop," medical ethics says you stop.
You don't just keep going because you think it would be 'better' in some abstract sense if the patterns of this person's thinking are carved into a new shape that suits your purposes better. Other people are not objects
for you to mold into whatever shape pleases you.
Surgically removing someone's brain, tossing it into an incinerator, keeping their body on life support and putting a cloned brain in it's place would achieve what you propose, the total destruction of the old individual and having a new individual in his body. But that's not what we are discussing. There is still a continuity between the individual before and after reprogramming even if behaviors are altered.
What continuity? How can we ever know that? There are similarities
, but that's not enough to prove anything. The same technology that lets us decide which bits of the brain we need to destroy to make someone compliant and docile, without just straight-up lobotomizing them, would also let us decide which parts of the brain we need to 'replace' or 'leave in' to allow us to create a different person who just happens to have a lot of the same memories, while interpreting them totally differently
, which you may recall is the intended point here.
In any case, effecting the behavior of criminals so they won't break the law again is one of the goals of penal system and it's methods, simply put take a long time and have some reliability issues.
Criminals have rights.
If criminals did not have rights, it would be simple to eliminate the problem of a criminal's behavior- shoot them dead and bury the body out back.Very quick, very cheap, very simple, IF you don't actually care what happens to the criminal, IF you are a torturing murdering miserable fuck of an excuse for a human being.
What is not so simple is to persuade
people, to convince them to change themselves while respecting their dignity as independent beings that are capable of thinking for themselves.
How convenient it would be, if whenever the state loses an argument with someone, they can simply push a button and- voilà! The person is forcibly convinced, against their will, that the state was right all along!
This is the most absolute form of tyranny imaginable, when you do not even have a right to your own thoughts
, if the shape of those thoughts is displeasing to those who hold the power.